Creating A Better Internet Theme For This Year's Safer Internet Day
February 11, 2014

Creating A Better Internet Theme For This Year’s Safer Internet Day

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

On Tuesday, organizations and educators in more than 100 countries will hold activities to recognize Safer Internet Day (SID) – a campaign designed to bring awareness to various online safety concerns, such as cyber-bullying and identity theft.

The theme for this year’s Safer Internet Day is “Let's create a better internet together.”

“The Internet touches our lives every day; we email to stay connected, share photos and videos, pay bills, and shop,” Jacqueline Beauchere, chief online safety officer at Microsoft, said in a statement, as cited by The Wall Street Journal. “Sometimes, though, the very experiences that we love about the Internet put us at risk.”

For its part, Microsoft is calling for people to “Do 1 Thing” to increase safety on the internet and share their effort on a newly launched Microsoft website called Safer Online. The company also recently released the results of its third annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index survey. According to the survey, the annual global impact of identity theft might be as high as $5 billion, with the price of fixing damage at nearly $6 billion – an estimated average of $632 per loss.

The company also found that 15 percent of the 10,000 individuals surveyed reported being a victim of a phishing attack, 13 percent said their professional reputation had been compromised and 9 percent said they had their identity stolen.

Despite these adverse consequences, only 36 percent said they restrict what strangers see on social media and the amount of their personal data online and 33 percent of respondents said they make their social network privacy settings more restrictive.

“There are many things you can do to stay safer online. If we all do just one thing, imagine how much safer we all will be, together,” Beauchere said. “Go to our website to share your one thing. Tell the world that you’re committed to helping keep the Internet safer and more secure. And once you do, you’ll be part of that positive change.”

Another recent survey on internet use, conducted by Disney’s Penguin Club, found that 36 percent of parents with children ages 6 to 12 said they do not regularly monitor their children’s activity online. The survey, which included 1,000 respondents, also found that 80 percent of parents think learning internet safety is as important as the so-called “three Rs” – reading, writing and arithmetic.

The Disney survey also found that a significant number of parents – 36 percent of respondents – felt that user manuals were too complicated when it comes to setting up privacy controls.

Yet another recently released internet survey found that 20 percent of young people in Northern Ireland spend five or more hours per day online. Most of these children were using social media sites without their parents’ knowledge, according to the study – which was conducted by the National Children’s Bureau of Northern Ireland.

"If their children are spending a long time on the internet they should really be curious. Who are they talking to? What games are they playing?” Celine McStravick, director of the National Children's Bureau NI, asked BBC News.

"They can be at risk of fraudulent activity," McStravick said."I think its all part of building boundaries and all parents do that offline, so we should be doing that online as well."